An Interview with Echo Zines

Check out Echo Zines at our 1st Birthday Zine Fair by clicking this link now!!

“Echo Zines makes zines about queer-anarcha-feminism, self-care, fandom, playing music, DIY culture, travelling, body hair, witchy herbs, and more. Echo’s zines come in all sizes, try to keep the prices low and are open to swaps. For me, zines are the ultimate DIY media and that’s why participation and community are central. I’m based in Belgium and would love to connect with zinesters and readers across the globe.”

Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Nina (or Nina Zina) and my zine project is called Echo Zines. I’m 39 and live in Belgium. I’ve been making zines since 2001 so this year I’ll celebrate my 20th zineversary! 🙂 I’m very happy to participate in the Coin-Operated Press Birthday Zine Fair! Apart from creating zines, I play guitar in the band Lavender Witch, make music on my own as Lost Luna, love cats and maps, enjoy reading graphic novels, having picnics, and doing crafts.

What do zines mean to you?

They mean A LOT to me! When I started out making zines I never would have guessed I’d still be making them so many years later but now I can’t imagine ever stopping. For me zines are about DIY self-expression, creative fun, sharing ideas and making connections. Zines are so accessible to make, you can write or draw about anything you like in whatever style, and I love the supportive zine community. I love creating zines as well as reading and collecting them (I have several shelves full of them from over the years). I mostly love zines that are both political and personal and above all very passionate and open about what they want to communicate. Even though I also enjoy making music, illustrations, and various crafts, zines are my main creative form of expression.

How did you first get started with zines?

I first heard about zines in the late 90s through a biography about Courtney Love which mentioned riot grrrl and the (fan)zines they were making. Then I started finding some zines here and there: a punk fanzine, a fiction zine distributed by Chainsaw Records and the riot grrrl-inspired Bunnies On Strike. That last one made me want to make my own. So I published my very first zine Punk Feminist Mini Zine in 2001 and I’ve continued making them ever since.

Tell us about your zines.

I make a few zine series, a bunch of one-offs among which some 24 hour zines (zines that are made in +/- 24 hours) and a lot of mini-zines. At the moment I’m working on the 3rd and 4th issue of my lockdown diary comic series Confined and I’ve just published a new issue for my long-running feminist perzine series Same Heartbeats in which I usually write about things I’ve been doing (from going to protests and zine fests to playing with my band Lavender Witch) along with thoughts about queer-feminist issues and DIY how-to guides (from open source audio software to self-defense). I also enjoy making mini-zines about subjects like self-care, playing guitar, why I like zines, activism, and herbs.

What resources do you use to create your zines?

Pretty basic stuff: black drawing pens (mostly thickness 2, 4 and 8), pencils, erasers, glue sticks, scissors, cut-out images from magazines, wrapping paper, washi tape, stickers, rubber stamps (and sometimes self-made lino cut stamps) and ink pads, my oldschool digital camera, a scanner, libre office, photoshop and indesign or scribus (unless I make the zine completely analog), and a printer at a print shop.

Tell us about your zine-making process.

I have 2 different processes: either completely analog or a combination of analog and digital. I like drawing comics, hand-writing, making collages, cut and pasting the text on backgrounds., and binding the printed zines with colourful yarn.. all-handmade. But I also love editing in photoshop and indesign. Most of my zines are black & white printed at the local print shop on recycled paper and the mini-zines are printed in full colour. The whole creation process is magical for me!

Do you have any advice for newbie zine makers?

Read zines for inspiration and ideas. What are your passions and what do you want to share with others? Make a list of things you want to write or draw or collage about or just start doodling or typing. Think about the order and size of the pages beforehand. You can start small, with a mini-zine for example. Be open to trading and have fun connecting with other zinesters.

What is your favourite thing about zine culture?

There are a lot of things I love about zine culture but I would say that the zine community is the most precious to me. Swapping zines and sharing our (shared) passions, inner thoughts and experiences, sending snail mail and little notes or long letters, showing support online, getting together for zine workshops or crafternoons, meeting at zine fests (also virtual), the mutual support and encouragement in the zine community, becoming friends through zines… This all means so much to me. For me making and reading zines has also helped me a lot during lockdown because it’s something I can do at home while processing everything that’s happening and still feeling connected to other people.

Do you have a favourite zine or zinester?

Not one but many! I find it impossible to choose! Just some zine series I would recommend to check: Scorpio Moon, Athemaure, Vinyldyke, Poor Lass, Bloom Weird, Light Light Sleep, Resisting Capitalism for Fun, Fanzine Ynfytyn, Here in my Head, Forever Incomplete, Don’t Call Me Cupcake, Ladyteeth, Wanderer, Red Hanky Panky… and so many others. I really love most of the zines I read. Thanks everyone who has ever shared their creations with me! ❤

Why do you make zines?

To share and connect with other zinesters and readers, to express myself freely, to document my life and what’s happening around me, and because I love making things especially drawing, collaging and writing in a self-published printed booklet format.

Do you have any events, zine fairs, zine launches, or anything else exciting that you would like to tell us about?

At the moment some of my zines are part of the FAN ZIJN exhibition at the public library in Sint-Niklaas (Belgium). I was also just interviewed for the Cidade das Mulheres radioshow about my zines and music and I did a zine reading for Virtual Swansea Zine Fest (first time ever!). During Swansea Zine Fest’s 24 hour zine challenge I made a new issue of my zine Same Heartbeats which just got printed. Finally, I’m brainstorming about how to celebrate my own zineversary! 🙂 Keep an eye on my blog for more news:

You can check out Echo Zines by visiting them on their socials…

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